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Chicken Stock

Bouquet garni:

1 bay leaf

{ large yellow or white onion

2 whole cloves

10 parsley stems, no leaves

1 clove garlic

1 stalk celery

1 whole carrot, peeled

1 small leek, white part only, split lengthwise in half and rinsed carefully

Prepare bouquet garni as follows: Place the bay leaf on the flat surface of the onion half and secure both ends of the bay leaf to the onion by piercing with the whole cloves. Tie the parsley stems into a bundle and tuck the garlic inside the celery crevice. With string, wrap all together, including the carrot and leek, so they make a tidy bundle. This makes it easier to remove the vegetables and herbs from the stock when it is ready.

2 whole chickens, skinned, all visible fat removed

16 cups cold water

Thoroughly wash the chickens by holding under running water. Remove any visible fat. Place the chickens in a stockpot, kettle or other large pot and add the cold water. Bring to a boil quickly over high heat, then reduce the heat and simmer gently. Add the bouquet garni. Adjust the heat so that the surface of the liquid just breaks with bubbles but does not boil. Skim off the foam that accumulates on the surface as the stock simmers. Cook uncovered for 1{-2 hours. When done, the meat should fall from the bones, but the bones should remain intact.

Turn off the heat and remove the chicken and bouquet garni from the pot. Discard the bouquet garni and set aside the chicken until cool enough to handle. Strain the stock through a strainer or colander lined with several layers of dampened cheesecloth. If the stock is not to be used immediately, cool to lukewarm or room temperature, refrigerate and remove the fat that collects on the surface during refrigeration. Separate the chicken meat from the bones and reserve for use in other recipes.

The stock may be kept in sealed jars in the refrigerator for 3-5 days or may be frozen in serving-size containers for about 6 months. Yield: 8 cups.

Nutritional note: Because this stock is skimmed of fat and contains no added salt, its nutritional significance is minimal.

Source: The Chez Eddy Living Heart Cookbook by Antonio M. Gotto Jr., M.D., D. Phil., and the staff of the Chez Eddy Restaurant (Simon & Schuster, $25).

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